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In Kazakhstan, the Soyuz TMA-18M Spacecraft Awaits Its Journey to the Stars

Illustration for article titled In Kazakhstan, the Soyuz TMA-18M Spacecraft Awaits Its Journey to the Stars

Here’s a low-angle look at the Russian Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft, vertical on the launch pad in the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The rocket will blast off on Wednesday carrying astronauts from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Denmark to the International Space Station.

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Originally, this flight was to include a space tourist, British singer Sarah Brightman, who pulled out in May for “personal family reasons.”

Another fun fact, courtesy of io9’s own Mika McKinnon: This launch will mean that nine astronauts will be living on the International Space Station until part of the current crew departs on September 12, 2015. This will be the first time the station has been so full since November 2013.

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AP Photo by Dmitry Lovetsky

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DISCUSSION

Does anyone besides me look at that rocket and think it looks rather small and Eisenhoweresque in the technology department? With that to compete with I can’t believe we’ve failed to field a competing device for as long as we have.